Every CLASS LTD client has different needs, and animal assisted therapy can help with many of them, including building empathy, the quality of their lives and their cognition. With the addition of an animal assisted therapist, CLASS will improve the lives of their clients greatly. Animal assisted therapy can help many different people in different ways, but what is it exactly? According to the Handbook on Animal-Assisted Therapy, animal assisted therapy (AAT) “utilizes the human-animal bond in goal-directed interventions as an integral part of the process” (Fine, 2000). In Wilson’s report Animal Assisted Therapy, it is stated that AAT is a “fairly old practice,” but it has come to attention again recently, and not just helping people in the hospital cope with their illnesses.
Animal-Assisted Therapy (AAT), which can be provided in a group or individual settings, is designed to promote improvement in a human’s physical, social, emotional, or cognitive function. An article by Chitic, Rusu, and Szamoskozi (2012) provides an analysis in order to determine the value of AAT. Both dogs and horses that were trained for AAT were examined and studied to determine their effectiveness in treating patients with psychological disorders. The results showed that both therapy dogs and horses were valuable aids to the therapeutic process. The analysis suggests that proper training and repeated sessions were necessary for proper treatment of patients.
Animals have been human companions for many centuries providing a source of peace and calm to those around them; however the use of animals in a structured therapy environment is a fairly recent phenomenon. Animal therapy involves bringing animals into the healing process, which can has been proven effective in aiding many types of people. Whether it be a dog, cat, bird, rabbit, or even a horse, all types of animals can be trained to help the emotional and physical health of people in simple and extraordinary ways. The use of animal therapy with highly trained animals can benefit the emotional and physical health of a variety of people, including children, the elderly, and individuals with unique circumstances. Healing can take many different forms, such as companionship for a child, throwing a ball for a dog, students petting dogs before a test, or even simply stroking a soft animal.
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